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Panchayat polls: SEC discusses security arrangements with Bengal govt

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Press Trust of India Kolkata
The West Bengal State Election Commission (SEC) held a high-level meeting with the top officials of the state government today to discuss the security arrangements for the May 14 panchayat polls in the state.
State Election Commissioner A K Singh held the meeting with the director general of police (DGP), ADG (law-and-order) and home secretary among others, SEC sources said.
"We have expressed our views to the state government regarding the security arrangements and we have been assured that foolproof security arrangements would be made," an SEC official said.
He added that the Mamata Banerjee-led Trinamool Congress (TMC) government was yet to hand over the blueprint of the security arrangements to them and the SEC was hoping to get it by May 4.
"We have asked the state government to ensure adequate security arrangements at each and every booth and polling premises to ensure a free-and-fair election," he said.
According to sources, the poll panel is of the opinion that security arrangements need to be foolproof for holding a free-and-fair election.
"The blueprint (of the security arrangements) will give us the information about the number of police personnel to be deployed at the sensitive and hyper-sensitive booths," another SEC official said.
State BJP president Dilip Ghosh said the party neither had faith in the SEC nor the police as both had turned into the "back office of the TMC".
"The SEC was neither serious during the filing of nominations nor is it serious about conducting the polls freely and fairly. They have turned the election into a farce," he said.
The opposition parties, at a meeting with the SEC on Saturday, had expressed their grievances regarding the panchayat polls and the security arrangements for the same.
The SEC had then said it would talk to the state government and ensure proper security arrangements.
The state government had written to Odisha, Punjab, Telangana and Andhra Pradesh, seeking forces for the panchayat election, a senior government official had said last week.
Four companies of security personnel were sought from each state, he had added.
Stressing that the government was doing everything to ensure adequate security arrangements for the election, DGP Surajit Kar Purkayastha had last week said it had sought security forces from four-five states to manage the panchayat polls, for which 58,467 polling booths have been set up across the state.

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First Published: Apr 30 2018 | 8:25 PM IST

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